In 2020, the Family Justice Courts (FJC) collaborated with the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA) to identify and form a Panel of Financial Experts (POFE), whereby a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed in December 2020.
2 Comprising ISCA members who are public accountants or ISCA Financial Forensic Professional credential holders with relevant experience, the initial panel was formed to provide financial valuation reports to assist the divorcing parties to better understand their financial situation. The POFE also assisted the court by providing equitable and objective valuations of the matrimonial assets under contest, thereby enabling justice to be administered more effectively and efficiently.
3 Under the POFE Scheme, a pilot programme commenced in 2021, where the FJC worked with the assigned financial experts on valuation reports for six cases. The FJC and ISCA reviewed the pilot and determined that the initiative can be implemented on a long-term basis. Arising from the pilot programme, enhancements have been introduced to the POFE Scheme. The new features of the POFE Scheme include the introduction of a fast-track process, probate applications, expanded panel of financial experts and improved process flow and documentation.
4 The inclusion of a fast-track process will allow the valuations to be completed within a shorter time frame, for specific situations where only non-complex single entities or residential or commercial property in Singapore are involved. In addition, given the success of the pilot project, it was agreed that the POFE Scheme be made available to contentious probate applications to facilitate the resolution of such cases.
5 ISCA has also worked with the Singapore Institute of Surveyors and Valuers (SISV) on the inclusion of SISV members with valuation expertise in real estate to the POFE Scheme. To be appointed on the panel, the ISCA and/or SISV member must have relevant prior experience in providing advice on the division of matrimonial assets, dispute resolution or as expert witnesses in court cases.
6 The new ISCA members on the POFE Scheme are public accountants, ISCA Financial Forensic Professional credential holders and/or Chartered Valuers and Appraisers. They are:
7 The three SISV members appointed for the POFE Scheme are:
8 In celebrating the formal launch of the revised POFE scheme, the Presiding Judge of FJC, Justice Debbie Ong said, “The FJC’s collaboration with ISCA has been a fruitful one. FJC is committed to working with our stakeholders such as ISCA, to support our aspiration that proceedings for the division of matrimonial assets can be conducted in a non-adversarial manner. The revised POFE Scheme arrives at a very opportune time, as it will empower our divorcing parties to resolve their differences in a more amicable and efficient way.”
9 Mr Teo Ser Luck, ISCA President, said: “ISCA is delighted to deepen our collaboration with the FJC on the Panel of Financial Experts programme. The pilot programme’s success is a testament to the role Chartered Accountants could play in contributing to the community. We are pleased to have contributed to the administration of justice. With the expanded panel, more ISCA members with the right breadth of skills, depth of expertise and wealth of experience can help make a difference to the lives of the individuals and the community.”
Family Justice Courts
Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants
15 Sep 2022
About Family Justice Courts
Established in 2014, the Family Justice Courts (FJC) are a restructure of our Court system to better serve litigants by bringing together all family related work under a specialised body of courts. The FJC comprises the Family Division of the High Court, the Family Courts and the Youth Courts and is administered by the Presiding Judge of the FJC. It hears cases relating to divorce, maintenance, family violence, adoption and guardianship, youth, probate, mental capacity and vulnerable adults. As family disputes differ from legal disputes, the FJC applies the principles of Therapeutic Justice, which is an approach rooted in problem-solving for the family rather than fault-finding between parties. Guided by our mission to make justice accessible to families and youth through effective counselling, mediation and adjudication, we are committed to deliver justice that protects, empowers and restores.
About the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants
The Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA) is the national accountancy body of Singapore. ISCA’s vision is to be a world-class accountancy body of trusted professionals, contributing towards an innovative and sustainable economy. There are over 33,000 ISCA members making their stride in businesses across industries in Singapore and around the world. Established in 1963, ISCA is an advocate of the interests of the profession. Complementing its global mindset with Asian insights, ISCA leverages its regional expertise, knowledge, and networks with diverse stakeholders to contribute towards the advancement of the accountancy profession. ISCA is the Designated Entity to confer the Chartered Accountant of Singapore - CA (Singapore) - designation. ISCA is a member of Chartered Accountants Worldwide, a global family that brings together the members of leading institutes to create a community of over 1.8 million Chartered Accountants and students in more than 190 countries.
For more information, visit www.isca.org.sg.